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TOS - posting URLs
An unusual policy that hinders others' ability to help
evilregis




msg:501124
 3:49 pm on Mar 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Could someone please explain the reasoning behind not allowing people to post URLs?

Personally, I think that it is a horrible policy. Especially in a CSS/HTML oriented forum. Design is visual and actually seeing what the site owner is trying to convey with words is extremely important.

Posting relevant snippets of code is a gamble that the person seeking the help even knows where to begin picking what is relevant.

Describing some of the issues that can arise during design (especially so with CSS) can be a horrible thing to not only write, but try and make sense of as someone who is hoping to offer help. Not everyone is able to express what they see in a meaningful way to get their problem across and I think that severely limits the help that they could receive. Several replies could go on in a thread just trying to put into words what the site owner is seeing. What a huge waste of time.

Someone's design is not working, so they post the code that they think is problematic, everything looks fine. But all it turns out to be is a missing bracket up higher in their CSS. Unless the person pastes their entire page, which is tedious to manually look at to sort through possible causes of problems, there's no way to see that.

I feel that the amount of help that could be offered to the members of this forum is being greatly hampered by this policy. It reduces their chance of getting their problem fixed and likely increases the amount of time they have to wait for a reply.

As a member of several webmaster forums, this is the only one that seems to have this unusual and, in my opinion, highly counterproductive policy and I guess I just posted this for an explanation as to why it's there, and to see if I'm the only one who feels that way.

 

bcolflesh




msg:501125
 3:52 pm on Mar 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

[webmasterworld.com...]

Webwork




msg:501126
 3:53 pm on Mar 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Link spam, plain and simple. The higher the traffic and rank of the site the greater push to spam.

You can post your CSS code.

You can invite people to sticky you.

You have lots of options, just not posting a direct link.

The absence of spammy posts, the absence of long sigs with lots of links, the suppression of flaming are the primary reasons why I spend time at WW.

It's a very professional and erudite mix you get here. The price you pay is you are held to certain standards.

benihana




msg:501127
 4:00 pm on Mar 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Someone's design is not working, so they post the code that they think is problematic, everything looks fine. But all it turns out to be is a missing bracket up higher in their CSS. Unless the person pastes their entire page, which is tedious to manually look at to sort through possible causes of problems, there's no way to see that.

validate. then post.

evilregis




msg:501128
 4:02 pm on Mar 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

I understand that link spam can be a problem... but I just don't see how not allowing people to post a link to their site is at all helpful in such a forum. In the SEO forum, sure. But when you are asking for help with your design... it just doesn't make sense.

Why not be allowed to post your URL but not link it? Therefore if someone is willing to help, they just copy/paste the URL in their browser? No link spam, no PR business, just someone looking for help to a legitimate problem.

Thanks for the link bcolflesh...

benihana




msg:501129
 4:05 pm on Mar 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

if the problem is described properly, and a response given fully, that post will be useful to others for years to come.

If a URL is posted, and that page subsequently changes, the post is useless.

createErrorMsg




msg:501130
 2:07 pm on Mar 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

benihana, in two posts of less than 50 words you gave the two top explanations. Nicely done.

Posting relevant snippets of code is a gamble that the person seeking the help even knows where to begin picking what is relevant.

How to Make a Post that Grows Legs [webmasterworld.com]
CSS Troubleshooting refresher..& Posting Code and URL's [webmasterworld.com]

In addition to these informative threads, I think the number one way to learn what a good code post looks like is to spend some time lurking before posting a question.

cEM

BlobFisk




msg:501131
 2:22 pm on Mar 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Certain URLs are allowed, you should consult the relevant Forum Charter regarding what URLs that we allow in posts. With so many marketers as members here, we cannot allow people to indicate the sites they are involved with in any way or links to tools etc.

If we allow anyone to post information that leads people to a project, then crafty marketers take advantage of that situation. For more information, see the Terms of Service [webmasterworld.com]. This policy of no urls and no site reviews helps keep the WebmasterWorld forums clean, on-topic and highly usable.

Because of our policy, we all need to work a bit harder to explain our topics in words and snippets of code (short ones, please!), instead of just pointing to an example page. But that extra effort we take benefits everyone who uses the forums.

With the amount of highly skilled and ever willing to help members that we have here on WebmasterWorld, a rough description of the problem will generally yield a suggestion as to where the cause of the issue may lie. This then allows for a short code snippet and further more refined and accurate suggestions of a solution to follow. The reason that we prefer short code snippets is that we have found that long code dumps generally lead to few responses, whereas focused snippets yield fast and accurate suggestions.

Linked pages will change, sooner or later, and that can make threads that depend on links difficult to follow. But a conversation that doesn't depend on links is valuable indefinitely into the future.

We found we needed these policies as we grew in size - when you serve millions of page views on a busy day, and have most of the world's media reading your pages regularly, then marketers will try almost anything to get those eyeballs. See Professional Forum Spammers [webmasterworld.com] to learn more about the issue.

The important thing to remember is that the policies that have evolved in this community are there only to maintain the fantastic quality of information that exists here.

HTH

cmarshall




msg:501132
 3:21 pm on Mar 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Just my $0.02.

I find it hampering and annoying that I can't refer to a page on my site that has been specifically created to exhibit a problem, and I find the fact that the forum software removes all code formatting (read: indenting) to be REALLY annoying.

Nonetheless, I must grudgingly agree with the WW policy. I see this as a useful forum, and I have actually been greatly aided by the necessity to boil my problem down into a little code snippet.

However, the argument that we want to hold this for posterity doesn't hold that much water, as the sheer volume of the archives means that past discussion threads are darn near useless unless you bookmarked them at the time they occurred. I am usually on a real time crunch when I am looking for answers, and it takes me long enough to get the problem compressed into a little snippet. I just can't spend the time to search through thousands and thousands of posts for the answers (even though they are probably there.)

I find this forum far more useful as a realtime discussion than as an archival knowledge base.

SO: Let's keep the policy, but fer cryin' out loud, why the $#@! can't we display our code as indented and formatted!?

createErrorMsg




msg:501133
 3:43 pm on Mar 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

However, the argument that we want to hold this for posterity doesn't hold that much water, as the sheer volume of the archives means that past discussion threads are darn near useless unless you bookmarked them at the time they occurred.

Three points:

1) My impression of the "for posterity" argument is that it is one of the founding principles of this site, not an after the fact justification for the rules.

2) WebmasterWorld is so heavily indexed by Google that the "for posterity" argument holds plenty of water when you consider individuals out on the web looking for web design/development information. For instance, run just about any Google query regarding an IE bug or a CSS positioning problem and chances are that two or three of the top 10 hits will be a WebmasterWorld thread. I believe this is the form of posterity to which that rule is aimed: that a thread becomes a reference peice that can be found, read and used by searchers for years to come.

3) And speaking of search, finding past threads and resources from the WebmasterWorld archives may not be easy, but it can be made easier. Go to this thread [webmasterworld.com] and follow the instructions on how to install a Google, Yahoo, Alltheweb, Gigablast, or MSN search box on your interface that specifically combs the WebmasterWorld archives for matches to your query.

cEM

cmarshall




msg:501134
 3:57 pm on Mar 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Point taken.

Searchbar added.

We'll see how this works in the future.

Thanks!

smellystudent




msg:501135
 11:27 am on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Posting as a relative newbie, I think the 'no urls' policy makes good sense.

When I'm asking for help, I'm forced to pare down my code to the bare minimum necessary to demonstrate the problem.
This makes it much easier for others to understand the problem, which also makes it far more likely that they'll take the time to try and solve it.

The policy encourages people to think for themselves before calling for help.

Reflection




msg:501136
 11:47 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

When I'm asking for help, I'm forced to pare down my code to the bare minimum necessary to demonstrate the problem.
This makes it much easier for others to understand the problem, which also makes it far more likely that they'll take the time to try and solve it.

I'll add that it also increases the chance that you will figure out what the problem is before you post it. I know this has happened to me on several occasions :).

Paring down code helps you to learn more about it, rather than "this works I don't have to know why" or "here's my code, what's wrong?"

Brett_Tabke




msg:501137
 3:40 am on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Given that there are members here, whose primary job description is to start buzz talk in forums, I think our policy is as appropriate as ever:

[webmasterworld.com...]

> page on my site that has been specifically created to exhibit a problem

The majority of the pages on the site have moderate pr to high pr (even a couple of pr8's). Spammers often pay up to $5-7k per month for such links. Creating a false forum persona to just work in a link is a certainty.

We want to be an education site first, and not a "do my homeword" or "fix my code" site.

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